Major findings: Within a few decades of the turn of the 20th century, a cluster of mind–body exercise methods emerged from at least six pioneering founders: Checkley, Müller, Alexander, Randell, Pilates, and Morris. Each was based upon a similar exercise philosophy and similar functional movement-harmonizing exercises. This renaissance of independent mind–body schools occurred in parallel with the demise of the 18th and 19th century gymnasium Physical Culture movement and the concurrent emergence of bodybuilding and strength training. Even though mostly forgotten today, Western mind–body exercise methods enjoyed celebrated success during the first half of the 20th century, were hailed by medical and allied health practitioners and practiced by millions from society’s elite to deprived minorities.
Ten patients who consulted a sports physician with complaints of underperformance and fatigue participated in the present study. The eight men and two women had an average height and weight of 181±(8) cm and 68.4±(11.8) kg. All subjects were diagnosed by a sports physician according to the latest guidelines for overtraining diagnosis.1 18 A careful history including training history was taken, completed by a physical examination and a blood draw to rule out other possible causes for the complaints. Patients were diagnosed as NFO or OTS retrospectively according to the severity of symptoms and the total duration of symptoms and underperformance (ie, both before and after testing) when no medical explanation for the condition could be found. It turned out that a cutoff of 1-year total duration gave a good distinction between NFO and OTS patients. Demographic data and reported symptoms can be found in table 1. Data of subject 1 are the same as presented in an earlier publication.10 All subjects signed informed consent before participation.
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of vigorous exercise on functional abilities by means of a Senior Fitness Test (SFT) in a group of elderly adults. Twenty healthy and inactive people performed vigorous exercise (VE: 12 men and 8 women, aged 69.6 ± 3.9 years). At the beginning of the study (T0) and after 3 months (T1), each subject's functional ability was tested for muscular strength, agility, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and balance. The VE was designed with continuous and interval exercise involving large muscle activities. Functional exercises were performed between 60% and 84% of heart rate reserve (HRR) for a duration of 65 minutes. Five out of the 6 SFTs performed were found significantly improved: Chair Stand (T0 12.4 ± 2.4, T1 13.5 ± 2.6, p < 0.01), Arm Curl (T0 14.2 ± 3.6, T1 16.6 ± 3.6, p < 0.01), 2 min step (T0 98.2 ± 15.7, T1 108.9 ± 16.2, p < 0.01), Chair Sit-and-Reach (T0 −9.9 ± 7.7 cm, T1 1.7 ± 6.3 cm, p < 0.01), and Back Scratch (T0 −15.8 ± 10.9 cm, T1 −8.4 ± 13.1 cm, p < 0.01). Our results suggest that a high intensity protocol and functional exercises can improve functional mobility and muscle endurance in those over 65 years of age. SFTs are an effective method for assessing improvements in the functional capacity of elderly adults.